How To Write A Literature Review For A Research Paper

How To Write A Literature Review For A Research Paper

Published by on 2021-03-22 12:44:20

How to Write a Good Literature Review: From its Purpose to Writing Guide 

When students get a task from a professor to write a research paper, they may want to know everything about it, from the definition to the writing tricks. In case you deal with this college assignment the first time, we know what questions you may have, so check the detailed answers below. After getting the basic info, keep reading the article to know everything about the writing process of a successful paper. 

What is a Literature Review in a Research Paper? 

It is a theoretical framework of your paper that involves an analysis of different sources on your topic. So you should gather a good amount of information for this part of a research paper and provide the key points, concepts, ideas, different theories that have to be credible and guide your research. 

Where does the Literature Review Go in a Research Paper?

It is one of the main parts of the research paper that follows after the introduction. As you know, it includes the theoretical information on the chosen topic, so it should lead to your methodology. 

How Long Should a Literature Review be for a Research Paper? 

It depends on the length of your entire research paper, so if you have a 15-17 paper, then your literature review should be 3-5 pages long. Moreover, the number of pages may also vary due to the amount of the reviewed literature as all sources have to be presented in 1 or 2 sentences. 

Are There Different Types of the Literature Review? 

It is usually divided into two main types: experimental and theoretical. As for the first one, you should survey the literature on your topic and find some gaps that should be worked upon. The theoretical literature review format for project consists of two parts, analyzing the literature and summarizing the discovered information, concepts, facts, etc.

Prewriting Steps and Tips for Writing a Literature Review 

Find examples 

When a student gets a new assignment from a professor, the best first step will be to search for some paper samples, as it really helps to understand what is expected and required from him. In case of a literature review and its paper difficulty, it is not a piece of simple advice. Having a good  example of a literature review in a research paper is vital, as you may easily get confused or get stuck with the paper during the writing process. But if you follow a good paper sample, you will not face any problems.  

Search for relevant sources 

When you deal with this type of paper, you should devote a great amount of time to do in-depth research. But having found good sources, pay attention to its date of publication and author. It has to be fresh and credible at the same time. Moreover, check the website info where you read the article. Is it a good place to get literature for your paper? 

We know that some students ponder about how many sources for a literature review they need. It depends on an academic level and also the number of pages. For example, for a 10-15 page paper, the minimal number of sources is 30-35. 

Determine your focus 

Any type of academic paper is organized around the main idea or ideas, and a literature review is not an exception. So before you go into the writing process, choose an aspect you would like to focus the reader's attention on. Would it be the different solutions? Or are there some weak parts in studies?  

At the same time, we recommend being selective and providing only essential info related to your topic. What is the most important type of information that should be included in a literature review? The important info is the results of previous studies or researches on your paper question. 

Be logical and follow a structure   

When it comes to academic writing, a student has to be concise and logical. So writing a literature review, you should follow the relevant paper structure that will help a reader perceive the info in the best possible way. There are different strategies for it, and you can choose the most suitable for you based on the gathered sources and facts.

The chronological method is the easiest way to write a literature review. You should analyze the sources and provide the key points paying attention to the date of publication. 

The methodological approach allows delving into different disciplines, analyzing research methods, and comparing the findings. 

The thematic method is better to use for topics with several central themes. You can also create literature review subheadings covering the topic from different perspectives. 

The theoretical approach is usually combined with another one, as it helps to present the basic theoretical information, such as definitions, models, etc. 

You should summarize and paraphrase

How to write a literature review for a research paper? How should you provide information? In addition to following a specific literature review structure, this paper assumes a summarizing of sources. You should only provide the main ideas and significant information relating to your research. At the same time, paraphrase some essential points not to sound boring, but be careful and avoid plagiarism. 

How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper: Step by Step Guide 

Come up with an outline 

Any guidelines on writing an academic paper include the important step - creating an outline. In the case of a literature review, it is a crucial part of the writing process as having a huge amount of information and ideas, you can easily get confused following the necessary structure. But if you spend at least an hour making literature review outline, you will greatly simplify the writing process. 

Create an introduction

Are you wondering how to start a literature review paper? The first paragraph has to explain the importance of your topic and the paper's purpose. Moreover, you should also define the criteria of searching for literature and give the idea of what paper aspects you will write about.  

Write the main body 

If you have a plan and a good sample literature review for research paper, then you will write the body without any problems. Remember that each paragraph should be devoted to one idea and include a few analyzed and evaluated sources.   

Finish with a strong conclusion

How to end a literature review? The good last paragraph consists of two parts. Firstly, you should provide a summary of the general conclusions drawn, indicating gaps, agreements or disagreements, and key findings. After it, you should define your own perspective on the topic and area of research.

Tricks for Writing a Literature Review for a Research Paper: Get an A Grade for Your Paper

Use different kinds of sources 

"Successful research is extensive research" is a golden rule of academic writing. So when you go to Google and your college library, try to look through different types of sources. You can use articles from scholarly publications and popular sources, books, reports, web resources, the conference proceedings, etc. As you already know, the main rule is to refer to relevant and authoritative sources. Moreover, such in-depth research will be a huge benefit that will add credibility to a paper and present you as a diligent student.

Make notes while searching for a literature 

When you search for literature, you can create a separate document and a folder to indicate the used resource links and add downloaded files. We also highly recommend spending a few minutes more to note the main information, such as the author name, title, date, and number of pages. It is not a typical trick, but it will save you tons of time! We are not lying! When it comes to citing the information used in a written paper, these short notes will help you greatly. 

Read as many literature review guidelines as possible 

Sometimes reading one article is not enough. So it is useful to look through a few guides to understand this academic paper better and deal with it without any stress. However, we tried to cover all the important aspects of the writing process and even picked a video for you. So if everything is clear to you, then do not waste time and start writing!

Use quotes wisely

The main mistake of many learners is using a large number of quotes. Unfortunately, if you write a literature review, it can have a negative impact on your final grade. Nevertheless, if you find it difficult to paraphrase the author's idea, or if you want to emphasize the importance, then you can use a quote. But control the number of quotes and consult with your instructor when you need it.

Prove your words

When you write a literature review, remember that any point of view has to be proven. It means that by interpreting one source and providing the main idea, you must prove that it is valid and worth the attention by providing evidence (a similar viewpoint). 

Always Edit and Proofread Literary Review for Research Paper 

We decided to highlight this step due to its importance. No matter how attentive you were while writing a paper, it may still contain mistakes and typos that have to be corrected. There are several editing ways, so you can focus on one paragraph or an editing issue rereading the document. As for the last option, it is better to create the research paper editing plan that may include the following steps:

  1. Check the sentences and expressions, rephrase them if necessary.
  2. Look through the terminology and vocabulary, add synonyms to avoid tautology. 
  3. Make sure that the literature review is consistent and meets the necessary structure. 
  4. Proofread a paper to correct mistakes and typos.